Neither the council nor John Randall can comment publicly on the payout from a recent unfair dismissal case.
Neither the council nor John Randall can comment publicly on the payout from a recent unfair dismissal case. File

‘No comment'

IT'S one of the most talked-about court cases in the region - but the Southern Downs Regional Council is staying tight-lipped.

Former economic development officer John Randall took the council to Fair Work Australia in an unfair dismissal action late last year, with both parties understood to have signed a non-disclosure agreement about the outcome.

While neither side is talking, it is understood that Mr Randall was successful and that council was forced to pay compensation to him as a result, and at the further expense of ratepayers.

Under Fair Work Australia rules an employer can be ordered to pay up to six months equivalent salary or wages, which in Mr Randall's case could have run as high as $37,000.

If an aggrieved former employee wants to sue for more than that figure they need to commence action through the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Legal sources have estimated to the Daily News that typical legal bills for such a case, win or lose, would be in the $60,000 range, which when added to any payout figure presents a hefty bill for ratepayers.

The Daily News has asked the council for comment on the Randall case on numerous occasions since it was heard last November but has been repeatedly refused for "privacy" reasons or simply with a blunt "no comment".

Council was asked yesterday if it could merely confirm if Mr Randall had received a payout, with the response from chief executive officer Rod Ferguson - who was on leave at the time the Fair Work case was heard - a blunt "no comment".

Mr Randall yesterday would not comment on the case due to a non-disclosure order, and likewise would not confirm or deny his electoral intention.

But he did concede that "many people" had been lobbying him to run as a councillor or even for the mayor's job.

"At this stage I am moving forward and I'm doing some business consulting work for interstate firms looking to re-locate to the region," he said.

"I'll make an announcement once my family and I have discussed it some more and I've come to a decision."


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